Issues We Are Following
An integral part of Houston Center for Literacy's advocacy
effort is to track legislative and agency actions affecting our
The 83rd Regular Legislative
Session came to a close on May 27, 2013. Below is an update on the
issues Houston Center for Literacy was tracking.
To jump to a specific issue,
click on a link below, otherwise, scroll down the page to see all
of the issues HCL is currently tracking.
Workforce Commission 2013 Adult Basic Education Public Stakeholder
The Texas Workforce Commission will be holding public
stakeholder meetings across Texas to discuss the transfer of adult
education from TEA to TWC. HCL encourages advocates across the
state to attend these meetings in order to ensure your voice is
heard. Click here for the
agenda and list of meetings. Those attending TWC's
meetings may use HCL's advocacy
Adult Education from the Texas Education Agency to the Texas
Background: In 2012, the Texas
Sunset Advisory Commission reviewed the functions of the Texas
Education Agency (TEA), which houses adult education programming
for the state. The Commission conducted an extensive review of
TEA's role in adult education and, under "Issue 2" of the report,
found the program was misplaced under TEA and would be better
served by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). As a result,
Houston Center for Literacy (HCL) convened meetings with literacy
coalitions and providers from across the state to discuss the
issue. The idea of change was met with positive
Due to the consensus that change
was needed for the way Texas addresses adult education and
literacy, HCL supported the move to TWC. Specifically, HCL actively
supported SB 307 by Senator Joan Huffman (Houston) and HB 362 by
Representative Ryan Guillen (Rio Grande Valley).
SB 307 by Senator Joan Huffman
(Houston) relating to the transfer of adult education and literacy
programs from the Texas Education Agency to the Texas Workforce
Commission. Read the text of SB 307
UPDATE (02/05/13): Referred to the Senate
Economic Development Committee.
UPDATE (03/25/13): Passed out of Senate
Economic Development Committee (6-0-1).
UPDATE (04/08/13): Passed the Texas Senate, no
UPDATE (04/10/13): Referred to the House
Economic Development and Small Business Committee.
UPDATE (04/17/13): Passed out of the House
Economic Development and Small Business Committee (8-0-1).
UPDATE (04/19/13): SB 307 replaced HB 362 on
the House floor. Passed to 3rd Reading.
UPDATE (4/22/13): Amended to include language
about family literacy. Passed the Texas House (146-0-1).
UPDATE (5/07/13): House amendment on family
literacy passed the Texas Senate (29-0-1).
UPDATE (5/08/13): The Speaker of the House and
the Lieutenant Governor sign
the bill. SB 307 was sent to Governor Rick Perry.
UPDATE (5/18/13): Governor Rick Perry
signed SB 307 into law. The bill will take effect on September 1,
HB 362 by Representative Ryan
Guillen (Rio Grande City) relating to the transfer of adult
education and literacy programs from the Texas Education Agency to
the Texas Workforce Commission. Read the text of HB 362
UPDATE (02/11/13): Referred to House Economic
& Small Business Development.
UPDATE (03/21/13): Passed out of House Economic
& Small Business Development (7-0-2).
UPDATE (04/19/13): SB 307 replaced HB 362 on
the House floor.
Sunset Advisory Commission
Report and Bills on the Texas Education Agency
In 2012-2013, the Texas Education
Agency (TEA) underwent Sunset Review by the Texas Sunset Advisory
Commission. One of the issues addressed by the Sunset Advisory
Commission was TEA's ability to effectively and efficiently
administer adult education services. Upon an extensive review, the
Commission recommended adult education be transferred from TEA to
the Texas Workforce Commission.
Representative Dutton (Houston)
filed the House sunset bill for TEA, HB 2983, and Senators
Patrick (Houston) and Nichols (Jacksonville) filed the senate
218. Both bills were not taken up for a vote during
the 83rd Legislative Session.
Other bills filed during the 83rd Regular
HB 119 by
Representative Lyle Larson (San Antonio) relating to citizenship
information reported by persons who receive local or state money to
provide services to individuals in this state. (Left pending in
HB 172 by
Representative Robert Alonzo (Dallas) relating to a program to
provide financial incentives to students who agree to teach
bilingual education, English as a second language, or Spanish in
certain public schools. (Left pending in committee.)
HB 763 by
Representative Ryan Guillen (Rio Grande City) relating to the
requirements for allocation of state and federal funds for adult
education programs. (Left pending in
HB 945 by Rep. Debbie
Riddle relating to abolishing certain county boards of education,
boards of county school trustees, and offices of county school
superintendent. (Left pending in committee.)
Legislative Budget Board
Effectiveness and Efficiency Report
The Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB) reviewed the
effectiveness and efficiency of adult education services in Texas.
In its January 2013 report, the LBB found that the Texas Education
Agency's (TEA) long-range statewide plan for adult basic education
was out-of-date and lacked guidance on coordination between
agencies and programs. The LBB recommended that a rider be included
with the General Appropriation Act (GAA) that would require TEA to
develop a comprehensive state-wide strategic plan to address gaps
in the system and target specific goals.
Read the LBB's
recommendations for adult basic education here.
Texas Interagency Literacy Council
In 2009, the Texas Legislature created the Interagency Literacy
Council to identify barriers facing literacy providers and
recommend solutions to those barriers. Headed by the executive
director of the Texas Workforce Commission, the Interagency
Literacy Council released its November 2012 Report to the Texas
Legislature, Governor Rick Perry, and the Texas Workforce
Houston Center for Literacy attended town hall meetings
conducted by the Council and submitted information to the report.
As reflected in the report, HCL advocated for the adoption of a
state-wide database for non-federally funded community-based
organizations to use in order to better track student progress. HCL
has created the Texas Online Learner Database (TOLD) for use of
Houston-based organizations. HCL's comments were incorporated into
the report and we plan to follow-up to ensure the TOLD is available
to non-federally funded providers.
the Texas Interagency Literacy
Council Report here.